Date of Award

Fall 12-15-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)



First Advisor

Flynn Ross


phonics, decoding, fluency, learning disability, reading, SPIRE, ETEP, curriculum, project based, teacher research, proficiency based, action research


The purpose of this embedded, mixed methods action research study was to examine the impacts of explicit, systematic phonics instruction on students with a specific learning disability in reading. A phonics intervention program, S.P.I.R.E., was implemented over the course of four weeks. The participants were two 4th graders and one 6th grader, all who had an identified specific learning disability in the area of reading. Data was collected on decoding accuracy pre and post intervention, as well as on reading fluency using timed one minute fluency drills. In addition, student perceptions of the S.P.I.R.E. program were also gathered using a survey administered at the end of the intervention. The overall outcomes of the study indicated that 100% of the students increased their decoding accuracy from the pre to the post assessment. One hundred percent of students also increased their reading fluency scores from the start to the end of the intervention. Student perceptions of the program were positive and students indicated that they enjoyed participating in S.P.I.R.E. The results of this research study indicate that explicit, systematic phonics instruction, taught using the S.P.I.R.E. intervention program, yield positive results. Further implications and recommendations are that the program should continue to be used as a phonics intervention for students with reading disabilities, but that more research is needed to determine long term effects.